AUGUST 12, 2010
Warwick: the most fantastic day of my life!
A week or so ago, British ex-F1 drivers Martin Brundle and Derek Warwick were performing pivotal roles at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Amid F1's summer break they were together again, doing a high performance motorbike course at the Ron Haslam Race School, based at Silverstone.
Brundle, of course, is BBC's expert F1 analyst, while Warwick was in the news as the fourth steward in Hungary, and widely quoted explaining that had there been more laps remaining at Hungaroring, Michael Schumacher would have been black-flagged.
Eddie Irvine, Schumacher's former team mate at Ferrari, recently opined that Schumacher's F1 return was as logical as his dalliance with motorbike racing was illogical. The Irishman's rationale was that motorbike racing was dangerous, Schumacher was no good at it and he didn't get paid....
It seems though, that many drivers and ex-drivers still have a thing about two wheels and Warwick and Brundle, both keen bikers, were keen to learn from an ace like 'Rocket Ron' Haslam.
After sessions on the new Honda CBR600RR ABS, both men came away grinning widely.
Brundle said: "It was a tremendous day. I expected to leave with ten times more confidence and riding twice as fast. I actually left as a better and safer rider and with a lot more respect for how bikes can bite you if you don't respect them. Talking to Ron, I learned how much you have to use your body to control the bike. I learned how to sit properly and move on a motorbike and the dynamics of bike riding. I like riding a bike because it makes me feel more like when I was racing. Ron was brilliant and I kept thinking 'This is Ron Haslam - I'm right behind Ron Haslam!"
Warwick effused: "It was the most fantastic day of my life! My admiration for bike racers has always been high but this experience has taken me to another level. Anybody who rides a bike on the road should do a course like this. Today has taught me how to be a better rider. Without Ron in front we'd definitely have crashed. I always wanted to feel the back hopping under hard braking - wait until I tell my mates!"
Haslam, a former podium finished in the British bike Grand Prix, said: "I believe I stretched them! I was proud to have Martin and Derek at the school; it's great to have sporting personalities here and for them to have such an enthusiasm for bikes. They were very quick, had a natural talent and we took them to their limits in the wet conditions. They enjoyed it so much, I understand they want to come back and have another go under dry conditions, which would give them yet another set of skills."
Steady on there, boys...